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What's the Real Deal on Pet Insurance?


Even if you haven't had a run-in involving your pet of late, pet insurance has probably crossed your mind. And if you have, the bill for any non-routine care may have cost you anywhere from a cool couple hundred to nearly a grand.

You might have wondered why people have health insurance and most pets don't, when the medical costs seem practically the same! And yet, navigating through the underbrush of fine print involved in pet insurance may have put you off. Is it worth the money? What do insurers really cover? And why do some plans cost the moon while others seem much more affordable? We'll try to clear a path through the paper jungle.

Tip #1: Get Them in Young

Ideally, you'll want to identify right pet insurance plan for you, and get your pet in young while she's still quite healthy. The reason is, should your pet develop a long-term health issue such as a thyroid problem, she won't be eligible for many programs, having a "pre-existing condition." If you stick with one quality program, though, you'll probably be fine.

Tip #2: You Get What You Pay For

This may stick in the craw a bit, when you start looking at insurance premiums. Some of them cost an awful lot! Be sure to look ahead too, at estimated increases down the road. The older your pet grows, the more the premiums will cost. They will get quite stiff for an older pet, even a healthy one.

So why should you pay out a mint for plan A, when plan B offers coverage for half the price? The answer is: lack of nasty surprises.

Let's face it, no one but an insurance adjuster can tell what the fine print means when it comes to covering your pet. But we do know this: on the cheaper plans, unhappy things happen. Let's give an example - let's say you have two pugs, both covered by an inexpensive plan. One sadly breaks his leg and needs several surgeries, costing two thousand altogether.

You may think your inexpensive plan - which happily, covers 2K of expenses - will handle it all. But when you submit your claim, you discover that 2K is the maximum coverage for both dogs, and your pug is only eligible for half. Even worse, but very common, is a lower limit per incident. In this case, Low Cost Pet Plan will respond that it only covers $500 for this "incident," but if your poor pug breaks his leg three more times this year, they'll be happy to help.

Tip #3: You Get What You Pay For

Yes, we know we said that already - but we didn't say it enough.

Here's a horror story that happens often on a low-cost plan: you have an insurer. You pay your premiums. But one day, your aging pet develops diabetes. That year, when it comes time to renew the plan and update the premiums, your insurer sticks in an exclusion. As of that moment, they no longer cover diabetes in your pet. Yes, they can do that - and you're out in the cold.

No less common -- and no more pleasant -- is the limited payout per condition problem. Your low-cost insurer may cover the first three years of your diabetic pet's vet bills, but after that, you've run through her lifetime allowance for diabetes. Now in her golden years, all her medical costs come straight from your pocket.

What you want is a reputable company that agrees to insure your pet for life, period. No tricks, no last-minute exclusions, no lifetime condition limits. But to have these things, you'll need to pay for them.

Tip #4: Follow the Wagging Tails

Pet insurance costs too much to be throwing darts in the dark. You need to know which plans will come through for you down the road after you've paid their premiums for years. So do your research - look for good word of mouth. You can learn a lot with some smart surfing and Googling.

Although we haven't used either, we found many satisfied buyers with PetPlan and Marks & Spencer. There are other good plans as well, and plans that are best avoided. The tip we like most is to ask your vet what she uses. Yes! - many vets insure their beloved animals, and are scrupulous in who they choose.

Tip #5: Do You Even Need Insurance?

There's an argument - and it's a good one - that pet insurance really serves no purpose. You can see the force of this line of thought when you check out the premiums of quality, reliable plans - they're high. So why should you pay out all that cash for what *might* happen, instead of stashing it each month in your own high-interest savings account and simply withdrawing what you need?

The answer is simple: discipline. Some people have the discipline to pay their premiums, but not to establish a separate account they won't touch except for emergency pet expenses. Other than discipline, there's probably no real reason why you shouldn't self-insure.

With one exception - liability. Some plans offer extra coverage if your dog injures someone and you get sued. These aren't the kinds of things you can effectively save up for on your own, so if you think it might be a problem, pet insurance might truly be the route for you.

Tip #6: One More For the Road

Is your pet a prize purebred, with a pedigree reaching back before William of Orange? Expect more vet costs over its lifetime - it's just a statistical fact. Perhaps this subtle factor will help you decide whether you should self-insure or go for a plan.

Peace of Mind: Priceless

We're animal lovers. And in the back of our minds lurks the fear that Fido will someday come down with something we can't afford to treat - simultaneous renal failure and diabetes, for example (to cite a sad chapter from my own pet annals). The peace of mind in knowing you can afford to care for your furry companion, no matter what the future brings, is profound. That's why insurance was developed, and that's why pet insurance might be the right choice for you.

About the Author

Blake Kritzberg is proprietor of Poodle-oo: Fashion for Toy Dogs. Stop by for toy dog couture and home decor, free toy dog postcards and the Toy Dog Blog.

http://www.poodle-oo.com/

Learn more about pet insurance.


TODAYS NEWS BY OFFICEJAX FREE ADVERTISING AND AD EXCHANGE SOLUTIONSMORE PETS INFORMATION RESOURCES updated Sun. July / 12 / 2020

Pet Scene: Summit County's adoptable pets for the week of July 12, 2020 - Summit Daily News
Pet Scene: Summit County's adoptable pets for the week of July 12, 2020  Summit Daily News

Points for Pets: Keeping your pet safe at the campground - WV News
Points for Pets: Keeping your pet safe at the campground  WV News

Tips for getting the best photos of your pets - Texarkana Gazette
Tips for getting the best photos of your pets  Texarkana Gazette

Dr. Maro: Pet health myths debunked - News - Ellwood City Ledger
Dr. Maro: Pet health myths debunked - News  Ellwood City Ledger

Tulsa Animal Welfare pets of the week - KTUL
Tulsa Animal Welfare pets of the week  KTUL

Pet Project 2020: Pets available for adoption in Massachusetts on July 10 - masslive.com
Pet Project 2020: Pets available for adoption in Massachusetts on July 10  masslive.com

Pet Vet: Hot Weather and Pets - WNDU
Pet Vet: Hot Weather and Pets  WNDU

Tips to keep your pets safe during the dogs days of summer - WVLT
Tips to keep your pets safe during the dogs days of summer  WVLT

Nationwide event helps pets in Mid-Michigan pets find their forever homes - WLNS
Nationwide event helps pets in Mid-Michigan pets find their forever homes  WLNS

Pepin's Pet Projects: Tips on easing pets into the "new" normal as you return to work - WCYB
Pepin's Pet Projects: Tips on easing pets into the "new" normal as you return to work  WCYB

Preventing pandemic-related pet anxiety now and later - WTOP
Preventing pandemic-related pet anxiety now and later  WTOP

Hints From Heloise: Photograph Fido on this special day for pets - The Washington Post
Hints From Heloise: Photograph Fido on this special day for pets  The Washington Post

Mystery illness has Arp pet owners worried - KLTV
Mystery illness has Arp pet owners worried  KLTV

CAPA Pet of the Week: Buttercup - Lompoc Record
CAPA Pet of the Week: Buttercup  Lompoc Record

Humane Society of South Miss offers tips for taking care of pets in the heat - WXXV News 25
Humane Society of South Miss offers tips for taking care of pets in the heat  WXXV News 25

Pet Tales: Helping domestic violence centers that shelter pets, too - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pet Tales: Helping domestic violence centers that shelter pets, too  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

IndyHumane Wants You To Remember To Vaccinate Your Pets - 93.1 WIBC Indianapolis
IndyHumane Wants You To Remember To Vaccinate Your Pets  93.1 WIBC Indianapolis

Social media a boon for lost Bay County pets - The News Herald
Social media a boon for lost Bay County pets  The News Herald

Empty the Shelters: Pet adoption fees reduced this weekend - WDIV ClickOnDetroit
Empty the Shelters: Pet adoption fees reduced this weekend  WDIV ClickOnDetroit

Pets In Need Delivers Medical Aid To Stockton Animals - Capital Public Radio News
Pets In Need Delivers Medical Aid To Stockton Animals  Capital Public Radio News

People share who or what they named their pets after in this feel-good Twitter thread - Hindustan Times
People share who or what they named their pets after in this feel-good Twitter thread  Hindustan Times

This July discount can help Houston’s senior pets find ‘fur’-ever homes, you a new friend - KPRC Click2Houston
This July discount can help Houston’s senior pets find ‘fur’-ever homes, you a new friend  KPRC Click2Houston

Be extra cautious of your pet during the summer heat - Victoria Advocate
Be extra cautious of your pet during the summer heat  Victoria Advocate

Here’s how to keep your pets cool and safe this summer - WOWK 13 News
Here’s how to keep your pets cool and safe this summer  WOWK 13 News

What you need to know to keep pets safe in the heat - 10TV
What you need to know to keep pets safe in the heat  10TV

A photographer's inventive dog portraits show just how human-like our pets can be - Insider - INSIDER
A photographer's inventive dog portraits show just how human-like our pets can be - Insider  INSIDER

Seeing Pets as Human - Psychology Today
Seeing Pets as Human  Psychology Today

Covid-19 kept them separated from their pets for months. So they've chartered a plane to bring them home - CNN
Covid-19 kept them separated from their pets for months. So they've chartered a plane to bring them home  CNN

1/3 of pet owners pets gained pandemic weight | WWL - WWL News, Talk, Sports Radio Station
1/3 of pet owners pets gained pandemic weight | WWL  WWL News, Talk, Sports Radio Station

Vets offer tips to keep pets safe during summer heat, activities - KHON2
Vets offer tips to keep pets safe during summer heat, activities  KHON2

Keeping pets safe and cool during the summer - WBOY.com
Keeping pets safe and cool during the summer  WBOY.com

Galveston County Animal Resource Center pets of the week - Galveston County Daily News
Galveston County Animal Resource Center pets of the week  Galveston County Daily News

The 10 Weirdest Movie Pets Of All Time (That We Still Love Anyways) - Screen Rant
The 10 Weirdest Movie Pets Of All Time (That We Still Love Anyways)  Screen Rant

CDC gives recommendations on keeping pets safe from COVID-19 - KYTV
CDC gives recommendations on keeping pets safe from COVID-19  KYTV

Local animal shelter provides tips to keep pets safe this summer - WVNS-TV
Local animal shelter provides tips to keep pets safe this summer  WVNS-TV

PHOTO GALLERY: It’s National All-American Pet Photo Day! Send us your pics - WJW FOX 8 News Cleveland
PHOTO GALLERY: It’s National All-American Pet Photo Day! Send us your pics  WJW FOX 8 News Cleveland

ARL extreme heat safety tips for pets - Newton Daily News
ARL extreme heat safety tips for pets  Newton Daily News

As temperatures rise, so should you pet safety awareness - WSMV Nashville
As temperatures rise, so should you pet safety awareness  WSMV Nashville

Pet Owners Struggling To Reunite With Their Furry Family Members Amid The Pandemic - NPR
Pet Owners Struggling To Reunite With Their Furry Family Members Amid The Pandemic  NPR

Pets are stressed out, too - Jill Lopez
Pets are stressed out, too  Jill Lopez

Great Lakes Mall hosts Shop With Your Pet Fundraiser - News-Herald.com
Great Lakes Mall hosts Shop With Your Pet Fundraiser  News-Herald.com

Pets of the week: Chihuahuas looking for a home together - Duluth News Tribune
Pets of the week: Chihuahuas looking for a home together  Duluth News Tribune

Pets of the Week - Elko Daily Free Press
Pets of the Week  Elko Daily Free Press

Pets and People: Buyer beware | Pets And Animals - Frederick News Post
Pets and People: Buyer beware | Pets And Animals  Frederick News Post

Firefighters rescue pets from house fire in Orange - WFSB
Firefighters rescue pets from house fire in Orange  WFSB

Adoptable pets from humane society visit Discovery Center - TribDem.com
Adoptable pets from humane society visit Discovery Center  TribDem.com

Mobile veterinary services tend to Tenderloin's homeless pet population - SFGate
Mobile veterinary services tend to Tenderloin's homeless pet population  SFGate

Animal Control Concerned About Pets During COVID-19 Pandemic - Santa Barbara Edhat
Animal Control Concerned About Pets During COVID-19 Pandemic  Santa Barbara Edhat

Pets of the Week: July 12, 2020 | Lifestyle - Longview News-Journal
Pets of the Week: July 12, 2020 | Lifestyle  Longview News-Journal

Looking for a home: Adoptable pets in Lane County - The Register-Guard
Looking for a home: Adoptable pets in Lane County  The Register-Guard

Featured pets — July 11 | Pets And Animals - Frederick News Post
Featured pets — July 11 | Pets And Animals  Frederick News Post

SAFD rescues six pets from burning home on North Side - mySA
SAFD rescues six pets from burning home on North Side  mySA

How To Ease Separation Anxiety For Pets Being Left Alone For First Time In Months - Block Club Chicago
How To Ease Separation Anxiety For Pets Being Left Alone For First Time In Months  Block Club Chicago

What you need to do before bringing home a new pet - The Washington Post
What you need to do before bringing home a new pet  The Washington Post

Study Suggests Cats Accompanied Kazakh Pastoralists as Pets 1,000 Years Ago - HeritageDaily
Study Suggests Cats Accompanied Kazakh Pastoralists as Pets 1,000 Years Ago  HeritageDaily

Two pets looking for new home after owners test positive for COVID-19 - KEYT
Two pets looking for new home after owners test positive for COVID-19  KEYT

Homes Pets Virtual Training - Longview News-Journal
Homes Pets Virtual Training  Longview News-Journal

Think through the details before bringing home a new pet - The Keene Sentinel
Think through the details before bringing home a new pet  The Keene Sentinel

The Animal Foundation takes in more than 270 lost pets in first six days of July - News3LV
The Animal Foundation takes in more than 270 lost pets in first six days of July  News3LV

Bella Is Basking Ridges Pet Of The Week - Patch.com
Bella Is Basking Ridges Pet Of The Week  Patch.com

Hit the Paws Button: Vote for your favorite pet! - Waterbury Republican American
Hit the Paws Button: Vote for your favorite pet!  Waterbury Republican American

'We need our pets now more than ever': Phoenix rescue animals find homes during COVID-19 - AZCentral
'We need our pets now more than ever': Phoenix rescue animals find homes during COVID-19  AZCentral

How to help your pet deal with fireworks anxiety - KYW Newsradio 1060
How to help your pet deal with fireworks anxiety  KYW Newsradio 1060

As weather grows hotter, pets could be at risk - Carolinacoastonline
As weather grows hotter, pets could be at risk  Carolinacoastonline

This Guy Found Caterpillars In His Grocery Store Broccoli And Kept Them As Pets Until They Were Butterflies - Delish
This Guy Found Caterpillars In His Grocery Store Broccoli And Kept Them As Pets Until They Were Butterflies  Delish

Five tips for bringing a new pet home - huntingdondailynews.com
Five tips for bringing a new pet home  huntingdondailynews.com

For Pet's Sake | Should you feed your pet human food? - fox56.com
For Pet's Sake | Should you feed your pet human food?  fox56.com

Toledo vet has important reminders for protecting pets in extreme heat - 13abc Action News
Toledo vet has important reminders for protecting pets in extreme heat  13abc Action News

Easily clean pets outside with this clever water hose attachment - AOL
Easily clean pets outside with this clever water hose attachment  AOL

Pet Cremation Owner Shares How It's More Than Just Business To Her - WGLT News
Pet Cremation Owner Shares How It's More Than Just Business To Her  WGLT News

Pet Supplies Plus opens new FM 1488 location north of The Woodlands - Community Impact Newspaper
Pet Supplies Plus opens new FM 1488 location north of The Woodlands  Community Impact Newspaper

It’s All-American Pet Photo Day: Show us your furry friend - KSAT San Antonio
It’s All-American Pet Photo Day: Show us your furry friend  KSAT San Antonio

Pets: Rx for a happier life - The County
Pets: Rx for a happier life  The County

Report: Rockford No. 1 in US for hookworm in dogs, cats - WIFR
Report: Rockford No. 1 in US for hookworm in dogs, cats  WIFR

The Pets Left Behind by Covid-19 - The New York Times
The Pets Left Behind by Covid-19  The New York Times

Argument over pets led to shooting | Alert - Seguin Gazette-Enterprise
Argument over pets led to shooting | Alert  Seguin Gazette-Enterprise

Project Blu Turns Fishing Net Into Eco-Chic Pet Products - Forbes
Project Blu Turns Fishing Net Into Eco-Chic Pet Products  Forbes

Pets help people cope during pandemic isolation, studies show - wpde.com
Pets help people cope during pandemic isolation, studies show  wpde.com

Shelby Is Manvilles Pet Of The Week - Patch.com
Shelby Is Manvilles Pet Of The Week  Patch.com

Fargo volunteers launch pet pantry to help local dogs, cats | INFORUM - INFORUM
Fargo volunteers launch pet pantry to help local dogs, cats | INFORUM  INFORUM

Pet of the Weekend: Baker - FOX 7 Austin
Pet of the Weekend: Baker  FOX 7 Austin

Larry Is Bridgewaters Pet Of The Week - Bridgewater, NJ Patch
Larry Is Bridgewaters Pet Of The Week  Bridgewater, NJ Patch

20 photos every pet owner can relate to - MSN Money
20 photos every pet owner can relate to  MSN Money

Take the BC SPCA’s No Hot Pets pledge to keep pets safe this summer - Barriere Star Journal
Take the BC SPCA’s No Hot Pets pledge to keep pets safe this summer  Barriere Star Journal

Pets of the week: Ziggy and Merlot want to move in with you - MLive.com
Pets of the week: Ziggy and Merlot want to move in with you  MLive.com

N.J. pets in need: July 6, 2020 - nj.com
N.J. pets in need: July 6, 2020  nj.com

Everything You Need to Know About Buying Pet Insurance - New York Magazine
Everything You Need to Know About Buying Pet Insurance  New York Magazine

These 17 pets would love to share space with you: June 27-28 - SILive.com
These 17 pets would love to share space with you: June 27-28  SILive.com

ChIA-PIPE: A fully automated pipeline for comprehensive ChIA-PET data analysis and visualization - Science Advances
ChIA-PIPE: A fully automated pipeline for comprehensive ChIA-PET data analysis and visualization  Science Advances

How to de-stress your pets for 4th of July fireworks - WABC-TV
How to de-stress your pets for 4th of July fireworks  WABC-TV

Keep your pets safe this weekend with these fireworks safety tips - Clarksville Now
Keep your pets safe this weekend with these fireworks safety tips  Clarksville Now

Houston area volunteer discusses pandemic’s impact on pet therapy - Houston Chronicle
Houston area volunteer discusses pandemic’s impact on pet therapy  Houston Chronicle

Pet owner frustrated with the Riverfront Animal Hospital - WILX
Pet owner frustrated with the Riverfront Animal Hospital  WILX

Breeders could be blocked from Chicago pet stores - Chicago Tribune
Breeders could be blocked from Chicago pet stores  Chicago Tribune

Pet's Q&A: “How do I keep my pets happy?” - NW Evening Mail
Pet's Q&A: “How do I keep my pets happy?”  NW Evening Mail

The first Great Iowa Summer Pet Fest is underway - Local 5 - weareiowa.com
The first Great Iowa Summer Pet Fest is underway  Local 5 - weareiowa.com

Petco Shares Tips for COVID-19 Safe Summer Fun with Pets - WFMZ Allentown
Petco Shares Tips for COVID-19 Safe Summer Fun with Pets  WFMZ Allentown

Loss of UVic dog park deals a blow to socially anxious pets - Goldstream News Gazette
Loss of UVic dog park deals a blow to socially anxious pets  Goldstream News Gazette

Runaway pets wind up in SoCal shelters in the aftermath of Fourth of July fireworks - KABC-TV
Runaway pets wind up in SoCal shelters in the aftermath of Fourth of July fireworks  KABC-TV

Aggieland Humane Society Pets of the Week: Bella and Midnight - KBTX
Aggieland Humane Society Pets of the Week: Bella and Midnight  KBTX

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